Looking to rent an RV for your next camping trip?
Although renting from a local RV dealer has long been the go-to method, a new breed of peer-to-peer RV rental companies are quickly taking over the RV rental market.
Outdoorsy and RVshare are two of the best and most popular peer-to-peer RV rental services for 2020. Both have easy-to-use websites, extensive rental inventories, and streamlined communication between the renter and an owner.
But just because these services are so popular doesn’t mean that you can’t still rent an RV the old-fashioned way – from a local RV dealer.
We pit Outdoorsy and RVshare head to head to see which is the best peer-to-peer RV rental tool but also compare them to renting straight from a local dealer.
Here’s exactly how to find the best RV rental in 2020.
Outdoorsy is the number one name for peer-to-peer RV rentals in 2020.
RV owners post their own RVs for people like you to rent when not in use. It’s sort of like the Airbnb of RVing.
Search for an RV by pickup location and the dates of your trip. You can refine your search based on preferred RV type, desired amenities, price, minimum rating, and more.
Once you find an RV you like, the booking process is simple. However, we do encourage you to look at the RV owner’s past reviews from other renters like you.
Although Outdoorsy does have excellent 24/7 customer service and technical support, the majority of communication will be directly with the RV owner. So, it’s important to ensure they have a good track record with past renters.
Outdoorsy has a huge number of rental options across the United States and Canada. Best of all, each RV is unique. They are not part of a fleet. You can find anything from motorhomes to trailers to campervans and more.
Rest assured that you’re in safe hands thanks to Outdoorsy’s excellent RV insurance and roadside assistance. Additional trip and damage protection are also available.
The entire Outdoorsy rental process is easy and streamlined from start to finish. In fact, many RV owners allow you to “Instant Book” an RV, further speeding up the rental process.
As far as price goes, Outdoorsy is quite affordable. That said, each individual RV owner sets their own prices, so you’ll find a wide range of rental prices based on vehicle type, rental location, and time of year. Most RV owners offer percentage discounts for weekly and monthly rentals.
Learn more about Outdoorsy.
What We Like About Outdoorsy
Here are the main pros of Outdoorsy:
- Quality Website/App – The Outdoorsy website is well organized. Browsing or searching RVs in your area is easy. Booking is just as simple. It’s effortless to communicate with owners over the Outdoorsy app.
- Lots of Options – Outdoorsy has the most rental options available of any peer-to-peer RV rental service. Even small remote areas tend to have at least a handful of rentals.
- Great Customer Service – Call, email, or live chat the 24/7 customer support at Outdoorsy for answers to any of your questions.
What We Dislike About Outdoorsy
Here are the main cons of Outdoorsy:
- Varying Quality Rentals – Make sure to do your research and read past customer reviews for each RV. Some Outdoorsy RVs are cleaner and better maintained than others (although there is a minimum standard). Some owners are much easier to communicate and coordinate with than others.
RVshare is the main competitor to Outdoorsy in the peer-to-peer RV rental market.
Since 2012, they’ve offered RV rentals across the United States. This makes them just a little older than Outdoorsy. In fact, they were the first service of this kind to really take off.
The rental process at RVshare is very similar to Outdoorsy. Just search for a rental by pickup location and dates of your trip. Browse the offerings or refine your search.
Unlike Outdoorsy, RVshare doesn’t place much emphasis on owner profiles. In fact, many owners don’t fill them out at all. While this isn’t the end of the world, it is nice to know the basics about an owner before booking an RV rental with them.
Luckily, there is a chat feature so you can contact the owner before booking. Unless they’ve received tons of glowing reviews, we recommend doing this before booking just so you can get a better feel for them.
Like Outdoorsy, most communication after booking is through the owner. You’ll arrange pick up and drop off directly through them. RVshare does offer 24/7 customer support if there are any issues.
Although RVshare has lots of rental options in more populated areas, it does fall a little shorter than Outdoorsy in terms of rentals in smaller more remote locations. In fact, RVshare has less rentals available than Outdoorsy in most locations. (Note that many owners post the same RV on both services).
RVshare does offer RV rental insurance and 24/7 roadside assistance. Couple this with top-rated customer service. Both RVshare and Outdoorsy allow owners to set their own cancellation policies from strict to flexible/forgiving. If you want the ability to cancel, select an RV rental with the loosest cancellation policy.
Prices are, for the most part, affordable at RVshare. But, like Outdoorsy, owners set their own prices, so expect them to fluctuate quite a lot depending on RV type, make and model, location, and time of year.
Learn more about RVshare.
What We Like About RVshare
Here are the main pros of RVshare:
- Easy Booking – It’s easy to book the RV of your dreams with RVshare. The website is simple and easy to navigate.
- Excellent RV Insurance – In addition to RV insurance for up to $1 million, RVshare guarantees protection for every step of your trip.
- Good Prices – The RV rental prices are comparable to those on Outdoorsy.
What We Dislike About RVshare
Here are the main cons of RVshare:
- Limited Availability – Rental options are limited in many big cities not to mention in more remote locations.
- Minimal Owner Profiles – Few RV owners offer substantial information on their user profiles which is much different from Outdoorsy.
Local Dealers Overview
It’s somewhat hard to compare renting an RV from a dealer to Outdoorsy versus RVshare.
Every local dealer is slightly different. They all have different inventories, different rental rules, and, of course, different prices.
The key benefit to renting an RV through a local dealer is the ability to see the RV in person before booking. You can often visit the dealership and walk through the available models that interest you before making your decision.
RVs from local dealers are often the best maintained and cleanest. Of course, many RVs on Outdoorsy and RVshare live up to the same standards – but there’s generally a certain level of quality you can expect from a local dealer.
Before your RV rental begins, a local dealer will do a full walkthrough and technical inspection to make sure you know exactly how to use the vehicle. This sometimes happens with peer-to-peer RV rentals, although the walkthrough is typically more thorough at a dealership.
Despite the benefits, local dealers fall short in a few main categories. First is simplicity of booking process. Most RV dealers don’t have nearly as streamlined of online booking services as Outdoorsy and RVshare. You can sometimes make rentals online but the process isn’t quite as simple.
A lack of unique rental options is another potential downside. Chances are you’ll be renting a vehicle from an identical, or nearly identical, fleet. You won’t find the vintage, retro, DIY, or one-of-a-kind RV rentals you can from peer-to-peer services.
Affordable RV rentals are available at local dealers. However, they tend to be slightly more expensive than peer-to-peer RV rentals. The upfront security deposit is also often much larger.
There are now lots of national RV rental chains. Although I typically prefer a local dealer thanks to the superior customer service, these nationwide chain outlets can make renting an RV even easier, especially if you plan to travel long distance or frequently rent RVs in different locations.
What We Like About Local Dealers
Here are the main pros of local dealers:
- Consistency – Traditional RV rental companies typically offer more consistency from rental to rental.
- Thorough Walkthrough – Most RV rental companies do a thorough walkthrough and technical inspection with each renter. While many Outdoorsy and RVshare owners do offer this, it’s not uncommon for the walkthrough to be rushed.
- Guaranteed Quality Standard – Of course, this varies from dealer to dealer, but the best RV rental services boast high quality standards in terms of cleanliness and maintenance for their vehicles.
What We Dislike About Local Dealers
Here are the main cons of local dealers:
- Limited Options – Your rental RV is part of a fleet. These are often all the same or at least very similar. You typically can’t rent retro or one-of-a-kind RVs from a dealer.
- More Expensive – Most dealer rental prices are more expensive than through a peer-to-peer service, even when all the fees are taken into consideration. Furthermore, the rental security deposit at dealerships is often much higher.
If you’re in the Minnesota area, check out Hilltop Camper & RV, this is where we purchased our RV and couldn’t be happier with them!
So, Where Is the Best Place to Rent an RV?
You can’t go wrong with either Outdoorsy or RVshare, although we prefer Outdoorsy.
Depending on the local RV dealership, renting through a brick-and-mortar business isn’t a bad idea either. There are a lot of quality local and chain RV rental services across the country.
Really, it all depends on your needs and preferences. Peer-to-peer RV rental is undeniably easier (and often cheaper), but renting for a local dealer can feel safer. You also get to communicate directly with the dealership – not with a random RV owner you don’t know.
That said, Outdoorsy takes the cake as the best way to rent an RV in 2020. They have the best selection, even in less populated areas, and the best prices. They provide excellent RV insurance, 24/7 roadside assistance, and reliable customer service.
But, best of all, more people (both owners and renters) use Outdoorsy. This means that far more reviews are available for most RV rentals than on RVshare.
What about you? What’s your favorite place to rent an RV? Do you prefer a local dealer or a peer-to-peer service? Make sure to let us know in the comments below.
Check Out Our Other RV Camping Resources
Now that you’ve rented your very own “home on wheels” for your next camping trip, here are some additional resources to get you up to speed on RV camping.
Use our best RV park guides to find the best places for RV camping near you:
Remember to check back often. We’re constantly adding more best RV park state guides.
If you’ve come to love RV camping, you might even be interested in our guides to buying an RV and full-time RV living. Our guides to hybrid travel trailers and pop-up campers have even more specific information.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us in the comments below with your questions about Outdoorsy, RV Share, or renting an RV from a dealer in your local area!